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Iowa town seeks closure in girl’s memorial service

Published: Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 12:04 p.m. CDT

EVANSDALE (AP) — A memorial service was held Saturday for the second of two eastern Iowa girls found dead months after they disappeared in Evansdale, but residents say the real closure hinges on finding the girls’ killer.

The town was quiet Saturday morning as light snow flurries fell and residents prepared to say goodbye to Lyric Cook, who along with her cousin disappeared while riding bikes at a local lake in July, the Des Moines Register reported.

“I don’t think it will actually be over until they find out who done it,” said Rita Cummings, the owner of a local diner who raised 10 children in Evansdale before moving to nearby Waterloo.

The bodies of Cook and her cousin, Elizabeth Collins, were found on Dec. 5 in a wooded area about 25 miles from where they were last seen. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 when they vanished.

A memorial service for Elizabeth was held Dec. 13.

Investigators said they hoped the discovery of the girls’ bodies would provide evidence about what happened. Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock in an interview Friday said he had no updates on the progress of the investigation. But he agreed that finding out who killed the girls is critical for the town’s healing.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a full sense of closure until the person or persons responsible are brought before the courts held responsible for their actions,” he said.

Ribbons of purple and pink — the girls favorite colors — were hung around town, and a makeshift memorial gathered snow at Meyers Lake, where the girls were last seen.

Shelly Steve works the counter at a craft store in town. She wears a necklace with Lyric’s and Elizabeth’s photos and a shirt with their names reading “We’re home.”

“I hope the funeral provides (the families) some peace,” she said. “This isn’t the way they hoped to bring them home, but now they’re with their savior. The only better place they could be is at home with their families.”